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Financial Aid

Financial Aid comes in the form of loans that must be repaid, with interest. There are 4 types of loans:

Student Loans (Stafford Loans and Perkins Loans are this type)

Parent Loans (PLUS loans are this type)

Private Education Loans (can also be called Alternative Loans)

The fourth type is for after you have arranged all of your student loans. You can then do a Consolidation Loan to bring all of your student loans together for one interest rate (hopefully lower) and one payment.

Interest rates are expected to increase by 1.5% to 2.0% on July 1, 2006, returning to historical averages. In addition, Congress is proposing to change the consolidation loan program from a fixed interest rate to a variable interest rate starting July 1, 2006.

School Programs

The financial aid office at the school you plan to attend is the best place to begin your search for free information. The financial aid administrator can tell you about student aid available from your state, the school itself, and other sources. The school is required to inform you of its aid procedures and deadlines, and how and when you'll receive your aid award.

Be sure that you've read and understood each school's satisfactory academic progress policy and keep copies of your enrollment agreement, the school's catalog, and all financial aid documents (especially loan documents) you receive. You can also find free information about federal, state, school, and private student aid in your local library's reference section (usually listed under "student aid" or "financial aid"). Student aid information may also be available from foundations, religious organizations, community organizations, and civic groups, as well as organizations related to your field of interest, such as the American Medical Association or American Bar Association.

You can also check with your parents' employers or unions to see if they award scholarships or have tuition payment plans. Federal Financial Adi comes in the form of loans that must be repaid, but are guranteed by the federal government. You can fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at http://www.fafsa.ed.gov.